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January 23 , 2010


The Amazing Science of Stock Market Bubbles


There are only two types of stocks: those safe from bubbles and those that are not. This is a fact of investing many discovered as they saw their fabulous gains whittled away by the extreme calamity of the Internet sector.
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But what about the future? Is there a way for investors to capture the enormous potential for profit that exists at the frontier of the economy, the place where innovation and genius operate, without placing their fortunes in jeopardy? Is there a way to evaluate price increases—and declines—and identify whether they are happening for good or bad reasons?

Bubbleology makes it possible to separate the winners from the losers. It is a brilliant, practical, and original analysis of the stock market that bashes the conventional wisdom about bubbles, showing that such famous examples as Tulipomania were not, in fact, bubbles at all.

Bubbleology shows that the traditional way of evaluating risk—equating it with volatility—is inherently flawed and incomplete. If a stock fluctuates a lot in price it is regarded as risky. If the price is stable, then it is not. What this simplistic way of thinking leaves out is the simple fact that companies trying something completely new that may fundamentally alter the economic landscape are operating at the frontier. The stock of such a company swims in a sea of ambiguity, its circumstances uncertain, since there is little to provide guidance about the future. But when nobody knows for sure what will happen, pundits tell us again about Tulipomania, the South Seas Bubble, and now the debacle of the Internet to scare investors away from potentially enormous profits. To realize those profits, however, investors have to understand the role that uncertainty and ambiguity—the absence of reliable information about future events—play in the modern stock market. Those who equate ambiguity with bubbles will miss the great opportunities of the future.

Bubbleology provides a new way to observe what is really going on in the market, enabling you to understand whether a stock or a sector is suspicious—whether it is in a bubble and therefore something to be avoided. Finding bubbles requires knowing where to look and what to look for.

Bubbleology will help you avoid both streaming into speculative manias and shying away from perfectly good business opportunities. It tells you why you need to avoid both pontificating pundits and overconfident stock analysts. With this unique and forward-thinking book, you can inspect suspicious stocks, accurately discern risk, and diagnose a blossoming bubble before it vanishes along with your money.

From the Hardcover edition.
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